|lliott Sullivan ( July 4. 1907 - June 2. 1974)|
Annie (ca 1883, Russia - ca 1889, Russia)
Gertrude (Jun 15. 1884, Russia - ),
Abraham (Jan 1893, Russia - ),
Elke/Ellie/Ella (Apr 1898, Texas - Feb 25. 1903)
Selig/Sallinger (Mar 5. 1900, Coriscana, Tx - Oct 18. 1987 L.A., Ca)
Rosa/Rose (Sep 3. 1903, San Antonio, Tx - Sep 29. 1988 San Antonio, Tx).
(1) Glenda Arlene Shields (Sep 1, 1939 - divorced) (?)
(2) Norma Dolin (Apr 14. 1947, N.Y. - his death)
Children: Marc & Abby
Aleck/Eli went to the A&M College of Texas. He took an interest in acting and participated in Amateur Theatricals, Little Theater and stock productions before. He had been living in the house on Goliad Street where he was born until 1929 when he took off to Broadway for 5 years, making his Broadway debut in Morris Gest's Passion Play (1929). By then he performed under the name of Elliott Sullivan. Other plays followed such as Red Rust (1929), Lysistrata (1930-31) ...
Late 1936, armed with a bus fare and a little left over for
meals he decided to try his luck in Los Angeles. Together with Pete Dreyfus
and Joe Thompson he rented the former home of Lew Cody (dubbed Whack(e)y
Manor) on Grace Avenue at a monthly rate of $25.00 per person.
In addition to his theatrical works he had several small
roles, many uncredited, in over 80 motion pictures. He was often type cast
as a rough policeman or military serviceman (Elliott in fact enlisted in the
army as private in 1943). He was seen in Winged Victory
(1943-44) as Sergeant Casey, and in Skydrift
(1945) as Corporal Kenneth Brody among others.
Since 1949 television also provided a regular income. When Norman and Irving Pincus first brought The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1950-1951) to the little screen on the old Dumont network, Elliott was cast as Sergeant Velie.
Sullivan was a regular guest on The Philco Television Playhouse between 1951 and 1952. He also did some stints in Off-Broadway productions. He was a replacement for the role of Rabbi David/ Prosecuting Angel/ The Principal in The World of Sholom Aleichem which ran from May 1. 1953 until May 23. 1954 in The Barbizon-Plaza Theatre. (7)
His most prominent performance, lamentably, likely took
place outside the entertainment business. In August 1955 he was called
before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s infamous House Un-American activities
Committee on the basis of previous testimony by more cooperative witnesses
(Jerome Robbins, Martin Berkeley, Lee J. Cobb, Nicholas Bela) who had
testified that Sullivan had been present at various Communist party
Asked point blank if he was a Communist, Sullivan said: "You have no right to ask me that question. I want this straight for the record I'm no conspirator and I have committed no crime" In refusing to answer, Sullivan invoked not the Fifth Amendment against self‐incrimination but the First Amendment guaranteeing freedoms of speech and association.
When the chairman suggested the possibility of a contempt citation did not seem to make much difference to Sullivan the actor flared: “Of course it makes a difference to me. Contempt—I have a wife and two children and I'm anxious to work. I resent that remark that it doesn't make difference to me—that nonsense. It makes a very serious difference in my entire life.”
At the time Sullivan was employed as Entertainment
Director at Wingdale Lodge, an all-year round interracial resort which had
presented some of America’s finest Black artists on its stage. In an open
letter to The Jackson Advocate in late August 1955 Sullivan
explained himself. "I am proud of my profession and the contribution it
makes to the cultural life of America. Since I like to think of myself as a
good American, I have always fought to enrich the culture of our country by
fighting against the vicious discrimination which prevents Negro artists
from enjoying equal job opportunities in radio, television, movies and the
stage. ... I have been influential in engaging many Negro artists who are
denied job opportunities in resorts else where. ... I have attempted to
outline only some of the things I have done which in my own opinion, could
easily have incurred the wrath of at least some southern members of the
Committee. It is getting monotonous the way any honest person who takes a
stand on any decent issue today is immediately branded and smeared and as a
result deprived of his livelihood. I feel that I am one of those who is
being lynched for his fight against jim-crow, and that it wouldn’t hurt to
let people know some of the facts."
Thanks to Dale C. Andrews
This actor profile is a part of
Ellery Queen a website on deduction.
The actor above played Velie in the 1950-1951 TV series of The Adventures of
Ellery Queen. Click Uncle Sam if
you think you can help out...!
Many of the profiles on this site have been compiled after very careful research of various sources. Please quote and cite ethically!
Page first published on May 6. 2021
Last updated November 5. 2022
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